Division 3 girls tennis: Jordyn Paul clinches Belchertown’s 3-2 championship win over South Hadley

  • Katie Meon, who plays first singles for Belchertown, returns against Meghan Bernard, of Belchertown, Friday during the Division 3 championship at Western New England University. JERREY ROBERTS—

  • Emily Hamparian, of Belchertown, who plays second doubles with Brooke O'Neill, returns against South Hadley players Olivia Blaney and Alexa Blaney, Friday during the Division 3 championship at Western New England University. JERREY ROBERTS—

  • Brooke O'Neill, of Belchertown, who plays second doubles with Emily Hamparian, returns against South Hadley players Olivia Blaney and Alexa Blaney, Friday during the Division 3 championship at Western New England University. JERREY ROBERTS—

  • Olivia Blaney, of South Hadley, who plays second doubles with Alexa Blaney, returns against Belchertown players Brooke O'Neill and Emily Hamparian, Friday during the Division 3 championship at Western New England University. JERREY ROBERTS—

  • Meghan Bernard, who plays first singles for Belchertown, returns against Katie Meon, of South Hadley, Friday during the Division 3 championship at Western New England University. JERREY ROBERTS—

  • Alexa Blaney, of South Hadley, who plays second doubles with Olivia Blaney, returns against Belchertown players Brooke O'Neill and Emily Hamparian, Friday during the Division 3 championship at Western New England University. JERREY ROBERTS—

  • Kate Assimus, of Belchertown, who plays third singles for Belchertown, returns against Tosin Omojola, of South Hadley, Friday during the Division 3 championship at Western New England University. JERREY ROBERTS—

  • Caroline Robitaille, who plays second singles for South Hadley, returns against Jordyn Paul, of Belchertown, Friday during the Division 3 championship at Western New England University. JERREY ROBERTS—

  • Hannah Dahrouge, of South Hadley, who plays first doubles with Aislinn Ford, returns against Belchertown players Maddie Hamparian and Angela Grabazs, Friday during the Division 3 championship at Western New England University. JERREY ROBERTS—

  • Jordyn Paul, who plays second singles for Belchertown, returns against Caroline Robitaille, of South Hadley, Friday during the Division 3 championship at Western New England University. JERREY ROBERTS—

  • Tosin Omojola, who plays third singles for South Hadley, returns against Kate Assimus, of Belchertown, Friday during the Division 3 championship at Western New England University. JERREY ROBERTS—

  • Angela Grabazs, of Belchertown, who plays first doubles with Maddie Hamparian, returns against South Hadley players Hannah Dahrouge and Aislinn Ford, Friday during the Division 3 championship at Western New England University. JERREY ROBERTS—

  • Maddie Hamparian, of Belchertown, who plays first doubles with Angela Grabazs, returns against South Hadley players Hannah Dahrouge and Aislinn Ford, Friday during the Division 3 championship at Western New England University. JERREY ROBERTS—

  • Aislinn Ford, of South Hadley, who plays first doubles with Hannah Dahrouge, returns against Belchertown players Maddie Hamparian and Angela Grabazs, Friday during the Division 3 championship at Western New England University. JERREY ROBERTS—

For the Gazette
Published: 6/10/2016 10:08:51 PM

SPRINGFIELD — Jordyn Paul thought her team had lost the match.

It wasn’t until her teammates mobbed her following her hard-fought, 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 win over Caroline Robitaille at No. 2 singles when Paul realized she had just clinched top-seeded Belchertown’s 3-2 victory over No. 3 South Hadley in the Western Massachusetts Division 3 girls tennis final, Friday at Western New England University.

Belchertown (20-1) secured its first sectional crown since 1998 and advanced to Monday’s state semifinal. Belchertown will meet Hopedale (15-4) at Western New England University at 3 p.m.

Paul was so focused on her intense match with Robitaille that she had no idea what was taking place on the other courts. What may have thrown her off was the loud outburst by the Tigers after freshmen twins Olivia and Alexa Blaney won at No. 2 doubles to even the match at 2-2.

That meant it came down to second singles. Even though she may have been oblivious to the score, Paul was determined to play hard and she and Robitaille engaged in some epic volleys that resulted in hotly contested points.

“She’s a fighter, and she really dug down deep,” Belchertown coach Jackie Kowal said. “The same thing happened against Monument Mountain on Monday (in the semifinals) where she was the last one on the court.”

This time, Paul had no idea the pressure rested on her shoulders.

“I thought we had lost and I was just playing for myself,” she said. “My teammates kept cheering me on, I even congratulated the other girl (Robitaille). Then when I came off the court my teammates told me we were going to states.”

Meghan Bernard, who went 40-0 during the past two regular seasons, got things rolling for the Orioles. She beat Katie Meon, 6-1, 6-2 at No. 1 singles to set the tone for the match.

“I had to play well because she seemed to be doing a lot better than the last time we met,” Bernard said. “I came in thinking anything can happen and I knew I had to play my game.”

Bernard’s work was hardly done.

“She is our biggest cheerleader,” Kowal said.

Meon played well, but Bernard was masterful.

“She’s a very good player,” Meon said. “She has a lot of experience, she has hard serves and her shots are very powerful.”

The Orioles No. 1 doubles team of Maddie Hamparian and Angela Grabazs also won, beating Hannah Dahrouqe and Aislinn Ford 6-0, 7-6 (2).

South Hadley got a big win from Tosin Omojola, who bested Kate Assimus, 6-4, 6-0 at third singles. Assimus was subbing for Julia Tan, who was on a trip to Europe.

South Hadley’s biggest boost may have come from its freshman twins, Olivia and Alexa Blaney, who beat Brook O’Neill and Emily Hamparian, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.

“After that first set, we started to get more confident,” Olivia Blarney said.

Alexa Blaney said the key was winning that second set.

“We did start to get more confident,” she said. “We knew it would be a tough match and after we lost to them the first time we played, it was a learning experience.”

It was indeed a different South Hadley team that went into the finals with every intention of winning it.

“I couldn’t be any more prouder of this team,” South Hadley coach Eric Cestero said. “Today was all heart and they proved it.”

It was the final high school match for Meon and Omojola.


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